Posts tagged ‘determination’

December 14, 2010

Doors open the harder we work.

by Kate W. Hall

I was talking to a friend recently who also happens to be an entrepreneur about the amazing ways in which doors open to us as business owners.

At first–at least for me–it seemed like forever until clients were approaching me about partnering with me in some way. At a certain point though, after months and months of hard work, experimentation and building our site content the tide began to turn, and suddenly we were accepting instead of just making phone calls.

If we can see it through to that day when we begin to build a name for ourselves, do great things for others by helping them along, and giving back to the community, the doors begin to open in rapid fashion. Just walk through.

December 9, 2010

Create an account, then raise it like a baby.

by Kate W. Hall

I met with a new client today that I’m really excited about working with–she’s a second-generation business owner in a traditionally male-dominated field, and with a fun and feisty personality I know we’ll get along swimmingly as we help build her brand with the mom-set in Richmond.

When the topic of social media came up, shock came over her. “Can we just set up an account and tweet once a week or so?” she asked.

I answered resoundingly “No.”

It’s just not enough to create a Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or other social media account and barely update/build/share. It’s practically not worth having at all. With determination and the fire that most entrepreneurs or marketers have in their bellies, integrating social media into the entire strategy is the only way to achieve success. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean sitting at a screen and reading tweets all day, either. Overall, as I’ve stated in a past blog post engagement in social media is the key.

Creating these accounts is a new outlet into a new world of connectivity, branding, and learning that is much like birthing a baby. You can’t just leave the hospital and expect it to raise itself, right?

November 29, 2010

Death of a business=time for reflection

by Kate W. Hall

A friend and client recently closed the doors of her business which had been alive and kicking in Richmond for six years.

This sort of stopped me in my tracks as I started thinking: what causes the death of a business?

The owner, a mom entrepreneur much like me, put her determination, heart and soul into the business. She spent countless hours building her brand, minding the store, creating promotions and sites and coupons and. . .the thought of it just breaks my heart.

I did some research on why businesses fail and found a great article on Small Business Trends called 5 Reasons Why Start-Up Businesses Fail. And while she wasn’t a start-up, I think you’ll agree that these probably apply to businesses in every life cycle.

The first is the one that sticks with me the most, because people always say to me. “Oh that’s so cool you have your own business, you get to choose your own hours!” I often think: Yes, that means early before my kids get up, during the day, and often after they go to sleep at night, while I’m at the gym, while I’m watching the kids at gymnastics. . .seriously, entrepreneurs never really stop working.

Not developing a Life Plan-People start small businesses for many reasons. They hate their job. They need extra money. They always wanted to open an art gallery or bakery. The trouble is that too many people do not take the time to really think about what they want out of life first, and then build a business around that.  They also don’t think about what their life would be like as an entrepreneur. How long do you think you could physically sustain working 7 days per week? . . .You need to develop a life plan because you just do not want to start a business that is NOT a good business for you.

I’m not sure anyone could’ve prepared me for this life as an entrepreneur, and there are days when I’d like to bag it all for a paycheck, but the passion continues to drive me. I’ll revisit these pitfalls often to try and ensure the business stays alive, at least as long as I’d like it to.

November 14, 2010

A Valuable Meeting

by Kate W. Hall

I’m fortunate enough to be asked for my advice & guidance by new entrepreneurs quite often.

This week was no different. When I received an out-of-the-blue email from a Richmond woman starting her own site it was flattering that she’d like my input.

We met for lunch & talked about Richmondmom.com, my humble beginning (and current humble status for that matter!), taking it from concept to cradle, and how we’ve grown to the “toddler stage.”

I was able to share my mistakes, which are plentiful:

1. Not hiring a professional web designer from the start.

2. Not hiring someone to help me sooner.
3. Trusting that clients would pay on time & not having a back-up plan. (As my husband says “Notoriety is great but we can’t put it on the dinner table.”)

She asked fabulous questions, causing me to reflect & often only offering-up an “I don’t know” as a response. . .after all, I’m no expert, I’m still learning, too!

What I took away from our satisfying lunch together (literally & figuratively) was that I learned surely as much as this kind woman did, and that there still remains much to learn on this bumpy business-owner’s road. The time spent reflecting&  sharing was as valuable to me as I hope it was to this once-stranger from whom I expect much success.

November 1, 2010

Speaking to 400 women was like a cocktail party. Really.

by Kate W. Hall

When I was invited to speak at the first-ever HCA Virginia Spirit of Women Girls Day Out on Friday, October 29, 2010 it was a bit overwhelming: why did they ask me? Was no one else available? Would I be able to entertain/inspire? It was such a compliment to be asked, yet still a daunting task.

I assembled some thoughts from the heart and the gut, invited my closest friends and family, and showed up in my prettiest dress. And it ended up being just like a cocktail party in my livingroom. Truly.

One of my dearest friends, Allison, suggested I tell a silly joke to start off, and it got everyone laughing. . from there on out, it was how/why/what was Richmondmom.com and how did I get here from there.

To be more specific:

There: a mom-of-three standing in November 2008 holding a pink slip.

Here: a mom-of-three who owns a business, Richmondmom.com with a site readership of of 112,000 since then, who is able to earn a living as an entrepreneur.

Key lessons if you missed it:

1) tons of support.

2) finding a team–for me, it was my running team.

3) having fun & reminding yourself that every day’s work counts

4) treating yourself: for me it’s with this guy: 

on television, of course. and occasionally while getting a massage.

5) do what no one says you can do. I wanted to write and publish Richmond Rocks within the same year. Some said it couldn’t be done. Why not?

6) give credit where credit is due: for me, it’s largely to my mom, who raised four of us single-handedly. We applauded her. We cried. It was the best gift I could ever give her, and I meant it.

7) laugh at yourself. Even when being bitten by a dog while on your morning run, roll with it. What else can ya do?

Bottom line: We are infinitely able to do far more than we can imagine. The women who came up and spoke with me personally mirrored this sentiment. I  knew they knew it about themselves, they just needed a little reminder. What do you want to do? I’d love to hear.

October 26, 2010

Do what you’re most afraid of until you’re not afraid anymore.

by Kate W. Hall

Last Saturday, I jumped off a building. I recently made light of it in a blog post on Richmondmom.com, but the truth is, it was pretty darn scary.

I had never rappeled from anything before, let alone a 400-ft. building in downtown Richmond (the SunTrust building). But when I saw some of my friends from Twitter doing this challenge for Over the Edge for Special Olympics VA last year I knew I couldn’t let the chance go by without trying it this year.

With thanks to HCA for helping me make the $1,000 in donations needed in order to jump, I saddled up into a bunch of gear and took a looooong elevator ride to a  bunch of stairs to the most amazing view in Richmond, before “sitting into nothing” and rappeling down 400 feet to the ground.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Now, I’m not afraid anymore.

I find that it’s the same in business. When I started, I was a bit afraid of cold calling businesses introducing my site: would they have heard of Richmondmom.com? No. Would they be interested in partnering withRichmondmom.com? Sure, why not! Would I call them today? Nah, how about tomorrow. . it’s too easy to stay busy with other work than grow the business.

But the truth is that I didn’t have much business, and I had three kids to feed and Christmas was coming. So cold-call I did. Determination was all I had. And sales came through. I had a ton of work to do, and was thrilled to have paying customers to do it for.

Do what we’re most afraid of, and we won’t be afraid any more.

 

 

September 23, 2010

What will we do with our 86,000 seconds today?

by Kate W. Hall

This morning I had the pleasure of hearing Heidi Androl speak at the Greater Richmond Chamber’s Extraordinary Women’s Exchange. I didn’t know much about Heidi but had read her profile, and just the fact that her soon-to-be-released book is called “In the Men’s Room” was cause to raise my eyebrow.

Heidi Androl spoke about being a woman in what is a traditionally a man’s working world–first in aeronautic sales, then to her transition as a sportscaster on Fox. This woman is a sportscaster for the Los Angeles Kings Hockey team, for goodness’ sake! She is no wallflower.

This confident, absolutely gorgeous woman gave us several take-aways that I’ll use, but here are the meatiest that will stick with me:

-Don’t think you can’t do something because you don’t have skills. She had never imagined herself, or been trained in–the fields she’s worked in. She just had desire and willingness to learn.

-Don’t say that you know things when you don’t. It’s ok to ask for help. Trying to act confident all the time will only hurt/embarrass us in the long-run.

-Don’t use the “woman card” and act like you can’t do things, either. You are smart, confident, and you can set your mind to do whatever you want. She admitted that she doesn’t have an MBA and competed on The Apprentice with folks that did and beat them out many times, on pure desire, focus, and determination.

-Don’t give Too Much Information (TMI). I thought this was quirky and fun and TRUE and so few people will tell you this. Say what you need to say, then hush up.

-DO use the assets you’ve got–whether it’s an MBA, a fun personality or quick wit, sports knowledge, you name it–you’ve got what you’ve got, you can acquire more, but use all that you have to maximize your potential.

-DO use your 86,000 seconds today doing exactly what you set out to do. Once the day is gone, those seconds are gone, and you’ll never get them back again.

Heidi encouraged us to use the “72 Hour Challenge”–a time you set to accomplish a BIG goal you’ve been wanting to, and focusing that time on the goal. She has done it several times and says the focus is incredible–remove excuses, dedicate, just do it. I’ll be chewing on what this small-town gal, who was raised by a single mom in a modest household shared with us. She’s quickly crossing off items on her Bucket List big and small and making things happen (one was owning a lemon tree on her balcony, one was taking her mom on a trip out of the country).

I’m going to use my 86,000 seconds wisely, and hope that you will, too.

September 19, 2010

So this is my blog for fellow entrepreneurs

by Kate W. Hall

Since beginning Richmondmom.com at my kitchen table in October 2007 (it never launched until January ’08) I had a dream of becoming an entrepreneur, writing to share and help others, and becoming a leader in the business community.

I’ve been lucky. My dream has come true. And I have a ton of work to do that I’m over-the-top excited about.

When I began working on the site I had about 12 visitors including my mom and sisters (and I’m not sure how much they actually READ the site, sorry guys–I understand). The site now has over 10,000 unique visitors monthly with a high of 17,000 hits and climbing.

And I’m not nearly done yet. There is so much room for expansion, helping my clients, and learning new marketing tools that it’s hard for me to tear myself away from the business.

How did I do it? I am consistently asked this question, and flattered that others are interested. Pieces of my recipe are scattered throughout this blog, and I’ll work hard to organize them into bite-sized pieces to help others build their dreams, too.

A few essential ingredients that have prevailed throughout are incredible determination, strength and support of other entrepreneurs and experts on whom I rely, and incredible tools like social media. Oh, and relationships. That is the veritable whipped cream on top of the sundae; no business would savor sweet rewards without the strength of others, direct and caring communications, and in-person and online networking.

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